We develop dark spots from a multitude of reasons. Aside from hormonal changes and scarring, the most common factor is due to excessive UV exposure. When our skin is exposed to UV rays (which consists of mainly UVA and UVB rays), the UVB rays penetrate into the layer of our skin where melanocytes are. Thus, since UV rays are damaging to the skin, melanocytes produce melanin as a natural defence to protect the skin.
This also explains why people who are extremely fair tend to burn more easily compared to people who have naturally darker skin tones. To transfer the melanin produced deep within skin layers to skin cells that are closer to the surface, melanocytes pass on these melanin pigments. Then, with age, our cellular turnover becomes irregular. Hence, this is why melanin is not evenly distributed over all skin layers and causes dark spots.
How can you effectively fight dark spots?
Essentially, you have to ensure that the melanin production is regulated, the melanin transfer is intercepted, and that the cells containing melanin at the skin surface are eliminated. Since most ingredients are unable to target all three, skincare products often contain a mixture of several ingredients for a synergistic effect.
Here are the top ingredients to look out for and the products to buy to banish dark spots:
One of the most widely researched ingredients in the world of skincare, vitamin C has proven results in terms of fighting free radicals, controlling melanin synthesis as well as stimulating collagen production for an anti-ageing effect. Yet, it is one of the trickiest ingredient to stabilise as it is highly reactive when it comes in contact with water and air. To combat this problem, many skincare brands have devised various methods to stabilise the compound and it is most commonly found as “magnesium ascorbyl phosphate, L-ascorbic acid or ascorbyl palmitate” on ingredients list.
Try Kiehl’s Clearly Corrective Dark Spot Solution, RM227.80, which contains Activated C, a next-generation version of vitamin C which works to inhibit melanin production while breaking up existing melanin clusters for a more even-toned complexion.